The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

So very tired

The girls are going to day camp this summer. They do three field trips a week, and every day is packed full of activities. If it’s nice out, they are outside the majority of the day. When I signed them up for this, I was really excited about this. So! many! field trips! Lots of activities!

Two of the field trips this week involved bus rides of 30 minutes or more. Caden fell asleep on both bus rides back, and fell asleep on the bus ride to the MOA yesterday. This kid is tired. Delaney slept on both bus rides back. Also tired.

The thing that bums me out about all of this is that I have to be fairly careful about bed time. They can’t really stay up super late because they can’t sleep in the next day. I’ve been letting them sleep a bit later since we got back from vacation, and even then, they are bears to get up every day.

Every once in a while we talk about getting a nanny next summer, but I just don’t know about that. They’d get to hit the pool and sleep in and stay up late, but it’s more expensive. A lot more expensive. I’d love to find someone to nanny share with, but I think that is more pipe dream than anything else.

(The girls are watching me type this and Delaney can’t believe I’m writing about bedtime and Caden told me to go to care.com to find a nanny. Oh these two.)

Anyway, there is no good solution to this. I’m hopeful next summer when they’re a little bit older they’ll be able to handle the activity a little better. Until then, we soldier on.

Lucy is recovering well. When the vet called to check on her I asked for better pain killers, since all they gave me was an advil equivalent. They gave me some narcotics for her – woo! She had a rough first night, but has been more comfortable and sleeping better since. Thank you so much everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

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Booked for Summer

I’ll be perfectly honest on this one, I’ve been thinking about what we’ll do for the summer since the girls started kindergarten. Nanny? Current after care? Will our old daycare actually start the school age program they keep telling me about? What to do?! I’ve been noting what works and what doesn’t work with what we are currently doing, and trying to figure out how to tweak that for the summer.

Let’s start with a nanny. This would be the most convenient choice, but it would also be the most expensive. Plus, my girls are incredibly social. I don’t think it would be good for them to have only each other to play with all summer. Nanny is out.

I do like our after care place, but they don’t have any pricing for the summer, so I have no idea how they would stack up. On the upside, they use the community center, which is also where our swimming lessons would be which would be super convenient. On the downside, that place is hard to get to, and pick up would be AWFUL.

A few friends have mentioned the YMCA, so that has been in the back of my head. I checked them out and the price was right, plus they do a ton of field trips and activities. A ton! I was discussing this with two different coworkers and both said “You have to sign up early for that!” I thought I was thinking about this early! And then, on the radio they advertised a Rally to get signed up for their summer programs. Perfect.

Last weekend we headed to the YMCA closest to us. I timed it, and while there wasn’t any traffic, it didn’t take us long to get there which is good. I’m very glad we went to the Rally because they explained all of their programs. I had heard about their camp outside the city, but I had no idea all of the activities they do there. It’s like sleepaway camp, without the sleepaway! They also had the itinerary for their entire summer, so I know what is happening every day, and when field trips are. I love people who plan ahead!

Long story longer, the girls are all booked in for the summer. They are doing a one week theater camp, two different weeks at the YMCA camp outside the city, and the rest of the time at the regular YMCA program. We will likely do our swimming lessons at the YMCA even though it’s more expensive, because it will be infinitely more convenient. Any other locals doing the YMCA thing? Would be fun to coordinate the YMCA camp!

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Last Day

The girls last day at daycare has been hanging over us like a big cloud for the month of August. As happy as I was to be done with paying for daycare, that’s how sad I was to leave these ladies. After we all made it through graduation in one piece (August 15, all my pictures turned out horrible), I felt our moods lift a bit. I was excited about kindergarten! But then reality set back in. I knew we just needed to get through it, that the last day would be difficult but necessary, and then we could move on.

The last week, we luckily had things going on. Appointments, teacher gifts to ready, cards to sign. All good distractions. And then it was Friday. Friday was chaotic because it was meet your bus driver day (bus showed up 20 minutes late), then at the bus stop I found out we were supposed to go in and meet our teachers (totally thought that was Tuesday), so we got into daycare super late. I was busy trying to check in with their teachers, hand out cards, and set out their teacher gifts. As I was leaving I gave a quick hug to Delaney’s main teacher, and started crying. Delaney saw my tears and joined right in. We had to peel her off my legs which is always fun.

But then I thought hey! Crying all done in the morning, I will TOTALLY be fine in the afternoon. I gathered up Delaney’s stuff and told her to say goodbye to Julia. She gave her a big hug, and then I saw Julia step up and walk away with tears in her eyes. Those two have been together for two years now and have such a special friendship, I know how much she cares about Delaney, so of course I teared up too.

The good of all of this is that now all of my focus is on kindergarten. I’m so beyond excited for them, and it’s good to just feel that excitement, without also thinking about leaving their daycare. Delaney is still a bit wobbly and extra sensitive, but I think once she gets a day of kindergarten under her belt, she’ll be fine.

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(Apologies for the awful picture. I realized as I was setting them out that I hadn’t taken a single picture, so I snapped a quick one with my cell phone. So sad about this.)
Teacher gifts! I’ve been hoarding this idea, just waiting for this final gift. I love that it speaks to the journey, but also that it’s something to leave behind, and something for their teachers to remember them by.

The original pin had a ruler painted around the pot, with the ‘Thank you for helping me grow!’ on the pot with chalkboard paint. I knew I would never pull that off times six, so I glued a cute ribbon around the pot, and called it good. I also bought them Starbucks cards because I run into all of them during their breaks, so it seemed a fitting gift.

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I feel like it’s kind of my signature to do a fun photo card, so I used Picaboo to print out this picture as a 5×7 flat card, with ‘Thank you for helping us grow! Love Caden & Delaney’ on the bottom. It turned out perfectly!

photo courtesy of Angela Kalthoff Photography

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Kindergarten Anxiety

Last year right around this time, I remember reading Facebook posts about kids going off to kindergarten and moms crying. I figured I would be cheering and counting my dollar bills while waving happily to my kids as the bus pulled away. And yet, here we are.

In my head I knew this was a big Milestone, I just didn’t expect it to hit me so hard. There’s something about heading off to school that leaves any sort of little kidness behind. I was never one to mourn milestones because I always thought I would have more kids, but turning 40 has brought the harsh reality forward that these are going to be my only two kids. This heading off to kindergarten thing? Only happens once. And that’s stinging just a little bit.

And then daycare. Our daycare is amazing. I feel like often times daycare centers get maligned as institutional and unloving. Ours couldn’t be farther from that. It takes a village to raise my kids and our daycare teachers are a huge part of that village. They have nursed my kids through bumps and bruises, they watch them when I travel for work, and they are their only babysitters. We love them, and they love my kids. Gah. It makes me teary just to type that. On top of the love, they have taught my girls so much. Numbers, letters, songs, musical instruments, spanish, planets, animals. Next Friday is going to be a very sad day.

The one thing I’m looking forward to is more time in the morning with the girls. The bus will pick them up around 8:45. We usually leave the house by 8:10 or so, so we’ll have 30 minutes of extra time. I’m hoping to do something intentional with those 30 minutes, whether it be exercising, reading to the girls, or baking. Exercising! In the morning! Nothing crazy, but I’m hoping I will now be able to work out more than once a week. And! When I work from home, I can actually work from home! I won’t have to take the girls downtown, come home to work, then go back downtown to pick them up. I can just get them on the bus, and then walk back to my house to work. It will be lovely.

And I haven’t even mentioned the money I’ll be saving not paying for daycare. After school care is a drop in the bucket compared to what I’m used to paying. I have big plans for those dollars!

So yes, mixed bag. Tough huge new thing to start, tough to leave the people we love, but so, so many good things ahead of us. I keep saying we just need to get to September 4 and we’ll be good. It’s this next week that is going to kill us. The anxiety, the goodbyes, it’s all too much right now for all of us.

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Ready

Yesterday I had Delaney’s last parent/teacher conference at the daycare. Everyone has been telling us both girls are Ready For Kindergarten for a year now so I knew going into it that this would be a very straightforward chat.

She was last tested in October, so it was interesting to see how her handwriting and shape drawing skills had increased. Her R’s and Y’s have much better shape, but oddly her S’s are backwards now. But, she nailed her lowercase letters! And the math portion. The teacher was most amazed by that, but I told her math came very easily to me in my younger years, plus their Leapsters have a lot of math on them, so that part didn’t surprise me. The other thing that surprised the teacher was that she knew her address and phone number. Please, we drilled that in the car as soon as I knew they were going to be tested on it!

I’ve talked before about how Delaney has the friend that she fights with quite a bit. I told her teacher that I hadn’t heard much chatter about the friend lately, were they still playing together? Apparently, Delaney has gotten fed up with this friend and when she’s mean to Delaney, Delaney tells her she doesn’t like it and gets up and walks away. This has caused other friends to realize they don’t have to put up with her bs either, and also get up and walk away! Leading the revolution! So the friend has realized maybe she should be nice, and things have been much better. And when it’s not, Delaney hangs with the boys and dribbles basketballs.

She commented quite a bit on Delaney and her ability to use her words to express her feelings in a nice way. She can tell her friends that they are hurting her feelings, without hurting theirs. What an amazing gift to have, no? I could not be more proud of my girl!

Her teacher said if I wanted, she could think up some things to challenge her this summer but I told her no. She’s more than ready for kindergarten, let her be a kid and enjoy her summer of fun.

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Daycare Parents

There have been a flurry of birthday parties from Caden’s class lately. I think we’ve been to four in the last month? She has a really great group of kids in her class, and I get along with all of their parents so it’s nice to actually have a conversation with them rather than just saying hello at pickup. But, it’s interesting to hear the stories their kids come home with because either my two are oblivious, or they just don’t tell me these stories.

From September until February (?) there were only 10 kids in Caden’s class, and two of those (both girls) were part time. Because they were such a small class they became really tight friends. Caden came home talking superheroes and Princess Leia and I loved it. Turns out, the boys think of her as one of ‘their crew’. The other girls they won’t really play with, but Caden is always welcome.

One of the boys thinks Caden is the most beautiful girl in the world! One day he’s going to marry her and then he’s going to kiss her on the lips!

Two of the other boys think Delaney is the most beautiful girl in the world.

A few of them are jealous of Caden’s lunches and go home and ask their parents to make them a home lunch “because Caden’s lunch looks so good!”

We’re all a little bummed that everyone is from different corners of the metro and come September, these kids won’t see each other again. We really are so lucky in that both girls have friends that are good kids, and both classrooms have a good vibe going. I’m hoping they can enjoy the next four months, but September is going to be rough!

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Start the Countdown

This is probably going to be a jumbled post and for that I apologize. I’m exhausted tonight as I type this. Worry and emotional breakdowns take a toll on a girl.

Lucy. The emergency vet wanted my regular vet to keep her for the day for supervision. She was eating and drinking, but still very wobbly when walking. We dropped her off, I took the girls to school, and then the vet called and basically said I could pick her up. She was hydrated and there was really nothing they could do. I got a few hours of work in and picked her up. She still can’t walk, but her eyes are still going back and forth quite a bit, so that is to be expected. I feel like her eyes are better than they were in the morning, but she still has a ways to go on recovery. I had really hoped that she would recover quickly, but she’s old and it’s going to take some time. Everything I’ve read tells me she will recover though, so it’s just a matter of time.

I have her in the basement right now. It’s carpet down there, so easier for her to stand up on than hardwood floors. It’s also quieter down there and more confined, both of which should be good for her. She’s clearly exhausted because every time she falls asleep she snores loudly. I’m hoping a night of solid rest will be good for her. eta: She’s doing much better this morning! She walked outside this morning mostly by herself. I think being home and getting good sleep is really helping.

Daycare scheduled all of the field trips for the entire summer (instead of doing it month by month) and sent out the list this week. I maybe wasn’t quite prepared to write out a $350 check, but as I was writing it out I realized that this is the LAST field trip/music class check I’ll be writing! Hallelujah! Start the countdown, my days of spending twice my mortgage on daycare are almost over! Four more months to go.

Also? It’s my birthday month, which my client/friend reminded me of today. I’m still trying to make my peace with turning 40, so I’ve decided to embrace birthday month and see if that turns the tide.

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Valentine’s Prep

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I’m not a huge fan of store bought Valentines. They are all so similar, how do you pick? And what if you pick the same as three other kids in your class? Luckily for me, Pinterest is full of fun Valentine’s ideas. I dismissed a lot based on how difficult the candy would be to find/buy, and how fancy the cut out was. I loved that this is a glow stick and not candy, and it was an easy printable to cut out.

Everyone kept talking about finding glow sticks in their Target’s dollar section, but I never saw them. I ordered mine off Amazon and hoped they were good quality. They are, but they are also way too long!

I ordered Valentine’s cards with the girls picture on them from Mpix, and thought I would tuck the glow stick inside that envelope (you have to write the recipient’s name on something right?) Of course the glow sticks are too long and don’t fit in the envelope. After much debate I’m going to tape the glow stick to the outside of the envelope. I haven’t assembled everything yet because I’m terrified this is going to be a cluster and the glow sticks will fall off, they will be giant and unwiedly and the girls won’t be able to get them into their classmates boxes, and then no one will see the terribly cute Valentines I put together! I may bribe the teachers to make sure things stay intact.

Speaking of the teachers, I bought small soy candles from Target (on sale!) and then taped the signed glow card around the candle. The sentiment works for both glow sticks and candles don’t you think?

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Finding her way

When I picked Delaney up on Tuesday her teacher told me that she had been caught lying three times that day. Delaney has certainly been known to lie to me at home, but at school? Never. I started thinking about how she has been sobbing when I drop her off in the mornings, and I knew something else was behind all of this.

The weird thing for me about their behavior at school is that it seems to be the exact opposite of what they are at home. Delaney has been awesome with me, and an awesome sister to Caden. She bends over backwards to make sure Caden is happy, and is always going above and beyond to be helpful with me. What was going on?

As we talked about it on the ride home, I knew what it was. Her best friend left their daycare about a month ago. I knew she was upset about it at the time, but I think his absence was affecting her more than I thought. She has another friend at school, but the two of them fight a lot. They are both strong willed and like to control things, so it’s a recipe for disaster. This other friend is going through a bit of a mean girl stage, telling other girls not to play with Delaney. Oof, break my heart. (The other girl is a good kid, they just aren’t good together.)

I finally told Delaney that she needs to stop playing with her. Time to move on and find other friends. We talked about the other girls in her class, but there wasn’t really anyone that stood out. So I talked to her teacher about it yesterday morning and asked if she had any suggestions for friendships we should try to encourage. We both agreed on one friend (whom I love!) that we both thought would be perfect for Delaney.

When I picked up the teacher commented on how vastly improved Delaney’s mood had been all day. The teacher had separated her from the friend she fights with, and paired her with the friend we want her to play with. It worked! Those two were bff’s, even coloring their projects exactly the same. And it was clear from her mood that she really needed that connection with someone.

Both of my girls become slightly unmoored when they don’t have a solid best friend in their classroom. I do wonder if it’s a twin thing, that need to always feel a connection with someone? Caden has found her someone (a boy, which didn’t surprise me at all) and she is giggles and smiles and jumping all day now. I’m hopeful with a little more encouragement, Delaney will have found her someone as well. And I’m incredibly thankful for daycare teachers that listen, know my kids, and can turn things around for them so quickly.

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Three Things

1. Caden skipped, tripped and landed face first on the table at daycare yesterday. The teacher scooped her up to comfort her, realizing a few seconds later that there was blood everywhere. By the time I got down there it wasn’t bleeding too badly, but it was super swollen and she was clearly in pain. She spent most of the next hour with her face in an ice pack. It bled off and on for four hours? Ugh. The blood is draining towards her eye, so the guess is at least one black eye besides the swollen nose. I’m hopeful she can sleep quietly enough to let things heal.

2. It’s parent/teacher conferences time! I love these, and they’re even better now that the girls have different teachers and we can focus on one child at a time. Also awesome? They also know the other twin, so we can have the “Oh my god they’re so different!” conversations as well. So Caden. Super smart. Aced the 5-year-old test! Knows her letters – uppercase and lowercase, can write them, knows her numbers, knows her letter sounds, knows her stuff! She has great control of her emotions and expresses herself very well. It’s like she uses the example text. “When you {take my toy} it makes me feel {sad}.” We are to work on sight words at home because she’s totally ready to learn how to read. Woo!

3. I’m going to throw this out there in the off chance someone knows what’s going on with me. I feel like my muscles want to jump out of my skin. It’s like I’m on the downside of an adrenaline rush all.the.time. It reminds me of when I used to work out a lot but would skip a few days. My muscles were always jumpy until I ran again. Except now I know it isn’t an exercise thing. Plus I ran and that didn’t do anything. I think this is contributing to the general crankiness and exhaustion I’ve been feeling. It’s been this way for a few weeks? I’d go to the doctor, but I have no idea which one to go to, and I definitely don’t trust my nurse practitioner to deal with this.

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